Savage Messiah - _Plague of Conscience_
(Earache Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8.5 out of 10)
Three years ago, I took the chance of checking out an obscure band from London called Savage Messiah. Little did I know that, even before the first track of their second album _Insurrection Rising_, I would be hooked to their technical yet raw and hungry style of thrash metal. This was an album that drove me in my review of it as far as claiming that it had raised the bar for retro-thrash. It was also an album that I came back to on many occasions since its release in 2009, and I was excited when I caught whiff of the news that their third album was on the way.

And here we are with the third offering from Savage Messiah: _Plague of Conscience_. It is approximately ten minutes longer than its blistering predecessor _Insurrection Rising_ and boasts another anti-capitalist artwork. It's an album that presents a more evolved and mature Savage Messiah with more compositional mastery that gave them the comfort of writing longer tracks. Before I jump into the various nuances that make _Plague of Conscience_ such a victorious thrash record, the hat has to be raised for front-man Mr. Dave Silver for his considerable improvement as a vocalist. The choruses on the opening title track, "Carnival of Souls" and "Architects of Fear" are some the examples of his terrific vocal work.

New drumming recruit Mauricio Chamucero makes a name for himself on the drums, especially on "All Seeing I", the aforementioned "Architects of Fear" and the eight minute finisher "The Mask of Anarchy". "Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt" is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my least favorite track on _Plague of Conscience_. It's the type of cliché ballad that actually got the average down. It just didn't hit the spot for me like its companions. But then again, it's only four minutes out of fifty-three, so that still keeps the album in a very high rank. There's a lot of technical interplay between the guitars and drums, like that on "The Accuser" and "Six Feet Under the Gun". Even backing vocals improved enough to make a lasting impact with their input on the chorus of "Shadowbound".

So the differences become obvious after several listens. While _Insurrection Rising_ was a raw and ferocious serving of pure thrash, _Plague of Conscience_ is a more melodic and vocal album with a more measured delivery that successfully keeps the bar high and proud for retro-thrash. Savage Messiah shall proceed to conquer the world with extensive touring to make a bigger name for themselves, and they deserve it. With the progress they've shown from _Insurrection Rising_ to _Plague of Conscience_, the future could hold even more glory for the Britons, but it won't be an easy task. Until the next one comes our way, go forth and headbang.


(article published 6/5/2012)

2/14/2010 A El Naby 8.5 Savage Messiah - Insurrection Rising
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